Michael Palin – Diaries 1969-1979 The Python Years

Finished reading Michael Palin’s excellent Diaries 1969-1979 The Python Years yesterday. I loved it. It gives an inside view (abridged admittedly) of the birth of Python, the ups and downs and tensions within the group and the transition from the TV series to the films of the 1970’s. Palin’s thoughts on the Ripping Yarns TV series are very welcome as well. All in all a wonderful read. I note that on 12th July 1979 petrol hit £1 per gallon. It nearly hit that per litre a few months ago! I hope there will be another volume. I want to read about the making of the film Brazil, the making of the Monty Python’s Meaning of Life (I’m sure there where some tensions in that process), although the initial writing for the 4th Python film just makes an appearance towards the end of 1979 in this volume. Reading some of the entries I wondered how so many activities were crammed into some days. As a counterpoint to some of the hectic days we also read of Palin’s family life and more normal activities. I really enjoyed it.

David Gerrold wrote in his book World’s of Wonder that “…your first million words are for practice. They don’t count.” Meaning that to be a writer you have to write a lot of words. Like any activity you get better with practise. Want to play the guitar? Learn chords and practise. Want to be a good bowler in cricket? Get in the nets and bowl. Want to be a writer. Write lots of words, sentences, articles and stories. Practise, practise, practise. Good advice from Mr. Gerrold I reckon. I started a diary of sorts myself whilst reading Palin’s book. Mainly in response to Gerrold’s maxim on writing, rather than hoping the diary will be of any interest to anyone. No one will see it until i croak anyway! On a technical note I’m using the Journal feature of SOHO Notes as the place where I write and store my daily scribbling. I have a few articles and other ideas that I want to write and the more writing I do the better I’ll get at it!


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